July 19, 2019 | 93° F

SINKIEWICZ: Explanations for why clowns are on campus

Opinions Column: People And ...

Two cannibals were eating a clown when one turns to the other and said, "Does this taste funny to you?" 

While they have their place in American culture, clowns are no laughing matter. Recently, a series of clown sightings has been taking place around the United States, including New Brunswick. A recent sighting was at Passion Puddle on Douglass campus, something you never really want to see on date night. The goal of this column is to explain, from my perspective, why this happened at Rutgers.

To be honest, I can see why people participate in this sort of nationalistic movement. People want to be a part of something. Look, these guys probably decided that they wanted to go Tacoria instead of the involvement fair and they figured they missed their chance. They still want to be involved at Rutgers, so what did they do? They form a performance art group with clown costumes. Why clowns, you might ask? Well, they asked the same thing, and they had heard about clowns in the news. Sadly, they failed to read that it was negative publicity and their charade didn't go over well, thus foiling their act in the process. 

Rumor has it that it is a lovely avant-garde performance filled with romance and drama regarding a clown named Bokobo who falls in love with a chimpanzee. I'd like to remind everyone that this isn't actually verified or a proven fact, but that it is merely a theory of mine. Another possible explanation for the clown costumes at Rutgers is the presence of October, and more primarily Halloween. For those of you who don't know, Halloween is a time where people of all ages dress up in costumes, getting increasingly scarier as they get older. By that I don't mean that their costumes get scarier, but that if you're dressed as a sexy nurse when you're 70 you either bought the wrong outfit or you plan on terrifying children who come to your door. 

Refocusing on the clowns at hand, these young "costumsieurs" (yes I made it up, no I didn't patent it yet) are potentially seeking to debut their costumes for the Rutgers student body. Look, we’ve all had doubts before regarding what we’re going to wear for Halloween. Hesitation leads to declination, which leads to you not going to a party. That’s the thought process that these young individuals are experiencing! They want to be cool and hip and want to see which costumes work. Now that they understand that clowns aren’t in, they’ll go as something else like a ninja or a wizard. Those costumes are hip (I may or may not be debuting my ninja-wizard costume this year, Winja!) This is the second possible explanation. 

Yet another potential explanation has to do with coming in touch with one’s true-self. Look, we all have a little bit of clown inside of us, heck, I was class clown back in middle school, but we’re afraid to let it out, afraid to be judged. Perhaps this stems from a childhood urge or desire. I remember that after I watched "The Brave Little Toaster" for the first time, I wanted to grow up to be a toaster, it’s a true story, ask my mother! 

Either way, we all struggle sometimes when we decide who want to be or what we want to do with our lives. Given that this is college, stress hits us very hard. These students might be exploring the possibilities of careers after Rutgers, and clowns just seemed like a fun option. Clearly, the field doesn’t have as much of an appeal as it did in previous years, but don’t rain on these guys for having the guts to do what most wouldn’t. Of course there is another theory that these are people looking for cheap thrills or that they’re individuals that are psychologically disturbed. I believe this is the most viable of the theories I’ve discussed, but it’s also the most boring. I really was hoping there was some sort of performance art troupe involved in all of this.

Either way, make sure you stay safe, people. Travel in pairs, bring your clown repellent (which will also help you in this coming election) and make sure you’re not out too late in the questionable parts of campus. At the end of the day, these are people, too. We need to focus on resolving this issue, getting them the help they need if need be and not necessarily react with fear or violence. This initial movement or action was the result of a likely disturbed individual, but we need to reach out not with weapons, but with open arms. I’m not saying hug the next creepy clown you see, but I’m saying that we need to all have open-minds and approach a solution to this issue rationally.

Zachary Sinkiewicz is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in English and history with a minor in political science. His column, "People and ..." runs on alternate Mondays.

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Zachary Sinkiewicz

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